TSG Guild Advancement
Unlike many Asian martial arts, TSG does not use a ranking, sash, or belt system for advancement. Some students do prefer a structured training development, and as such TSG offers a regular path for progression. This also allows us to more easily structure instruction among senior students as well.
Although we don’t formally follow a ranking structure, new students interesting in a path to progression may consider the following milestones.
Phase 1 (Prospective Member)
Described above. Members at this level are learning the basics of the weapon system in their curriculum path (for Liechtenauer this includes longsword, messer, spear, and dagger). Their goal is to become a full member.
Phase 2 (Full Members)
Described above. At this level students learn fundamental defense in drilling and sparring for all their major weapons. Their goal is proficient sparring and basic defensive proficiency.
Phase 3 (Focus Training)
At this level, members will start to focus on one weapon at a time. This is where the majority of the in-depth training occurs. Usually students take one weapon and focus in that direction, longsword being the most popular. Each weapon system ends with a fairly intense prize play to evaluate competency. The goal at this level is a confident knowledge in the historic technique associated with the weapon in question.
Gaselle / Journeyman
Members who finish their prize play in one weapon are considered Gasellen or Journeymen. The final prize play isn’t a test of mastery over one weapon system, just competency and a proficiency in all the main source material. Journeymen are expected to continue their training beyond the last prize play, either through teaching, apprenticeships, research, curriculum development, journeyman trips, or other training opportunities.
Some members decide to continue training new weapons beyond the Gaselle level and may start over at phase 3 with a new weapon. Members who complete three prize plays are considered freifechter. Freifechter are a historical position used in medieval armed guilds. In some contexts these were journeyman-like positions. In others, they were free masters, without patronage. Regardless, in TSG we still expect freifechter to continue their training, but they also adopt senior instructor roles of various types.